Monday, March 2, 2020

Ghost In Mirrorlight

Ghost In Mirrorlight

The moon poured only ghosts of mirrorlight
but thick and rich as the cream of your summer skin
that blinked pale against the cooling coffee-black night

when the wind was just a comfortable autumn beast,
shaggy with the flurry of falling leaves
and not the winter-bitter glistening back of sleet.

You had no cold love, served without a sauce
nor lukewarm, listening merciless as drought, only
a love that never thinks of loss

to  give to me, and all of it was mine,
the kisses on each inch, the ones that traced
each rise of breath, each shadow in my eye,

from the first that falls upon the cornerstone
to the last
that travels inward to the bone.

My inheritance of teeth, my broken stars
you covered in the heart's deep underground
where I discovered that escape erases scars,

that a lifelong thirst required only tea
made too hot and fragrant for regret,
which you and luck had kindly brought for me

in a tortoiseshell cup
some child had left behind
when love was a shrine.

 March 2020

posted for Kerry's 

Images: Teatro de Sombras,As Cinco Estações, (Shadow Theater, Five Stages) 1976 ©Lourdes Castro    Fair Use
The Terre-Cuite Tea Set, 1910 ©Childe Hassam   Public Domain


  1. As someone who reached a certain point in life having only experienced either one-sided love (from each perspective) or the mutual but lukewarm stuff, I wished something more satisfying had come my way. It did, several times in fact, and those connections were both more intense and more brief than any before them. All that to say, I wouldn't have wanted to miss them. Love stops being a shrine, but that doesn't mean it can't warm that hungry place in the marrow. As the man said, life's a funny old dog.

  2. Oh, Joy, to have had such a love! This poem warmed my heart because, under all the disclaimers and dog hair, there hides the heart of a hopeless romantic. (Who knew?) I love it all, especially the tortoiseshell teacup. Sigh.

  3. It takes a subtle art to weave a poem around a prescribed list of words, and you have really excelled in this poem. As I was reading, I wondered how you would work in 'tortoiseshell' and there it was with most perfect timing.
    I love most especially the stanzas which describe the kiss, the phrasing and imagery tugged at my heartstrings.... I must be something of a romantic after all!

  4. the first line of the 3rd to last verse especially stands out to me, but it all does. you describe a depth and breadth and volume of love, here, timeless yet rooted in time and therefore ephemeral and that much more special ~

  5. Time (and death) ends the person but never the relationship . And in the same way there's ever a 35 year old person inside looks aghast at the mirror, so too stare back that person's deepest yearnings and loves. The candle we carry is kept lit by present and ghostly hands ... The bittersweet perusals here of Things have all the echoes of Graham Nash's "Our House" viewed from far, far away. Both ends still burning. The paramour is the mediator of the incessant bell-toll and echo of I and Thou. A fragrant cup o' tea for this rudely awakening spring. - Brendan


"We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, out of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry." ~William Butler Yeats